Thursday, September 11, 2008

i challenge you to challenge me to not hate dc


I came across an interesting post yesterday on another blog while I was taking a respite from re-reading mine and impressing myself with my own genius over and over and over again (it's hard to tell if I'm joking, isn't it?). Anyway, the blog post, written by the dapper Restaurant Refugee complained about people who complain about Washington, DC. (Meta, right?) From what I understood, his basic premise went something like this: People who hate DC are ignorant of all the tight activities and cosmopolitan culture that the District has to offer and these assholes don't know what they're talking about so they should move. Um, OK.

Now maybe it's because I like healthy debate, or perhaps it's because I'm a self-proclaimed DC antagonist, but most likely it's because I just like making and ass out of myself being the center of attention, which is why I couldn't stop my fingers from typing vigorously to refute his theory.

Let's first explore RR's essay. Apparently he was out playing billiards with a crew of dudes who make bank. One of them, "James, a displaced New Yawker with a fancy law firm gig and the predictable attitude and intelligence of a Jets fan," decided to go off on how he hates specifically the women and dining choices in good ol' DC. In my opinion, if that's all he's complaining about, then, um, OK, let it ride.

But RR wasn't havin' it. In his mind he wished he had called his "friend" James a "khaki wearing carpet-bagger" and told him to move. In reality, though, RR said "something about [James] not knowing the restaurant scene at all and ensured that he never gets another invitation." Invitation to what, I have no idea, but if it's in DC, I get the feeling that James wouldn't give a sh*t. He hates DC, remember?!

Now, let's have a full disclosure moment: I've met RR in person once along with several other DC-area bloggers. My first impression was that he's a very nice guy, funny and, well, the man was wearing cuff links. What's there not to like? However, we differ on several very key levels, one of which is on our respective relationships with the city we both live in. Another is probably our bank accounts (mine's empty), but that's neither here nor there.

The point is, I disagree 100 percent with the underlying assumption accompanying this well written recount. Not everyone who doesn't adore DC is an ignorant asshole unwilling to give DC a fair shot. And unfortunately, several commenters on his blog, some of them fellow bloggers who I've met in person once or twice and whose company I've enjoyed (although I can't vouch for them feeling the same...), seemed to wholeheartedly agree with RR. A couple even added another twist-- not only are people who dislike DC ignorant assholes, but they're also somehow hankering to be "hip" by jumping on some invisible trendy bandwagon.

Dang, where to even start refuting that theory? Oh wait, this is easy, I'll just cut and paste what I already wrote in the comments section of RR's blog. I began with a breakdown of the Top 3 DC hater categories:

There is the “I hate myself, ergo I hate DC (and anywhere)” hater. Not cool. There is the “I’m used to such-and-such and hold that up as the gold standard for everywhere else” hater. Not cool. And then there are those of us who have lived here for a good while (comparatively to how long we’ve lived other places), who have done a lot of sh*t in this town and have come to the conclusion that it is rather lackluster. Sure, there are tons of museums. There are also tons of tourists. Sure, there is R’n'R Hotel. But is it really all that stellar that there’s *one* decent bar in this town? Sure, there’s Eastern Market, some decent restaurants and a nice park (to get raped in! ZING!). But is it worth sifting through the sea of backward doucheiness (and really, there is no more perfect way to generically describe so much of the population)? After a while it really tests one’s persistence. Luckily, I’m persistent. I also have such low expectations that if I see a pair of flat-front pants I f*cking write a blog about it. My opinion — DC is not that cool. Sorry. You hate me because I dislike where you (and I) live and have an opinion about it? Who’s really the jackass in this situation now?

And of course, me being the master debater (hee-hee) that I am, I continued:

Example: People think it’s "hip" to hate DC? Thanks for devaluing my opinion, which is different than yours by classifying it as a “hip” trend. My opinion is not a pair of skinny jeans. Classifying someone’s opinion as “hip” is uppity and demeaning and when uppity and demeaning isn’t done in a funny and entertaining manner it’s really annoying. I’ve talked to a wide variety of people and have found that DC (in general, probably not anyone on this forum) does not do well with differences of opinion. People shun reason for polemical arguments or just walk away in a huff. It’s quite entertaining actually, but can get old. Perhaps the partisanship is all due to the government, which is probably a root cause of why so much sh*t sucks here. Or maybe it’s a case of rampant close-mindedness. Or political correctness. Or fear of the other. Or a giant stick placed firmly up the ass.

Whatever. I have my forum where I’m free to hate all I want, which I hope I do with more hilarious observation and less bitter vitriol than I’m revealing here, so I’ll leave it at that. I just felt the need to stick up for the haters because not all of us are as uninformed as many, apparently, like to think.

Not bad, right? Maybe? Anyway, so far, only one person has counterpointed my counterpoint, saying that hating DC really is "hip" because there's more than one blog on that topic. There's also more than one person wearing goddamn Crocs and I'll be damned if that sh*t is considered "hip." Wow, look at that, I found another reason to hate DC -- the over- and wrongful usage of the word "hip." (See? It really is that easy...)

But again, this is all just my opinion, which means that, although I'd like to think my thoughts beget instant facts, I'm reasonable enough to know that (regrettably) that isn't true. What is true, however, is that I enjoy hearing the other side of the story. It's the only way I can learn. Perhaps if RR had simply offered up some suggestions about the dining scene or spoke up about the virtues of DC women instead of cutting his friend off, James would've changed his mind or at least gained the knowledge he needed to form a more complete judgment. Or maybe James is just too "hip" to care. After all, hating on DC is apparently trendy and just like a pair of high-waisted trouser jeans, he'll change his opinion when hating DC goes out of style. Yeah. That makes sense.

Anyway, when it comes down to it, I'd like to think that I don't blog blindly about sh*t in DC I find exceptionally messed up. Nor do I believe that I'm so close-minded that if I did come across something I enjoyed that I'd be too stupid to admit it. In fact, I've blogged about reasons to live several times before.

So, is there something I'm missing? While I enjoy commiserating with those who hold similar views to myself, I would very much enjoy hearing from those who have found some secret DC nooks and crannies that I'm apparently too ignorant to know about. Or, we can all stick to the standard format where I'll mock DC's inability to use a mirror and DC can collectively assume I'm a small-minded, unenlightened jackass. I'm fine with either, really.

And actually, allow me to take this one step further. I want DC adorers to challenge me. Tell me about some place, activity or aspect of DC you think I've misjudged or overlooked and I'll take that task on and blog about my experiences, good and, of course, bad. Bring it, good sirs and madams! I say, bring it!


Apparently, my snap judgments about a city are wrong and his snap judgments about me are right. Excellent logic! Of course I love that a whole blog post on someone else's blog is dedicated to me on the Internets (indeed, my e-persona's narcissism really does know no bounds!) , but I really do wish it was more humorous... Oh...wait. Writing humorously is so cliche...kind of like using the term "lowest hanging fruit," n'est-ce pas? But in all honesty, this did give me a chuckle as do most things in life. However, I didn't laugh as robustly as I usually do about a good ol' fashioned rape joke. Too bad everything can't be that funny.



Anonymous said...

Eh, I don't know how I feel about those who hate DC. To each their own, I suppose.

I guess my major thing is I love the life I have built here. I love my neighborhood, even though some would find Potomac Avenue less than desirable.

I love that I have the neighborhood bar (Finn MacCools) that was introduced to me by and I love their bottomless mimosas, heh.

I love that even when I'm broke there is still something to do, because unlike a lot of places I have lived, there are many things to do that are free.

Then again I'm from here and so is my family so ignore me. I'm biased.

thoughts said...

I think that guy the RR was with sounded like a real douchebag. I'm sure he said and did tons of annoying, douchebaggy things that night, but it's a lot easier to flip out on somebody for talking shit on DC than to just say, "Dude - you're a douchebag." Regardless, there are ways to point out DC's deficiencies. Several are annoying and unoriginal, but not yours. You keep doing what you're doing.

And this is coming from somebody who loves this city, but then again I'm from Pittsburgh so....

Lemmonex said...

You hate on the burger trend, but have you tried the burger at Palena? It is really quite tasty.

Victor9000 said...

Dear Ms. Anti-

Today's post is an epic gauntlet toss - it is the blog equivalent of the hammer scene in Oldboy (, taking up arms against the horde of goons, metaphorically of course . Hatery explored is a service to all mankind.

As to your final challenge, I submit a perverse answer: that perhaps this douchey petri dish we call home inspires a type of reflection and self-knowledge that can't be found in a tighter, more well-lit place. Sweeter places might be more rewarding and less frustrating, but that makes them easier, and less likely to light your analytical and existential fires. As a loyal reader, I count on that forge, and the constant supply of fuel it demands. Could Fyodor have dropped the C&P knowledge without a stint in a Siberian prison camp? I think you know what I'm getting at.


Robert said...

DC is not what it used to be. The city used to have a culture all its own. Outdoor go-go shows all summer. A punk scene the rest of the world envied. So much crime you could do whatever you wanted short of shooting someone and not worry about being arrested. Ah, the good old days.

That said. I still love DC. Its not New York, but nowhere besides New York is.

DC has nature. You can drive 20 minutes and walk along the Potomac with no one around. You can drive 10 more minutes with a small boat and canoe from island to island on the river. DC is close to numerous nature destinations.

DC has great thrift stores close by.

DC has fun flea markets. Florida Avenue and RFK for example.

DC still has good music coming through.

DC has excellent cheap food options. It may not have all the options of New York, but nowhere does. Try the taco truck on 14th just north of the Exxon at Oak Street. (I may have my streets wrong, but its up around there.) We also have tons of Bar-b-que stands, soul food, fried fish, pretty much any ethnic group you can think of close by in the burbs, tons of Caribbean places, vegetarian places, etc. Name a type of food and I'll tell you where to go. For legit Mexican, try little Mexico up Kenilworth Avenue just outside the city.

And Baltimore is a 30 minute trip up 95. The Marc train costs $7, and you can drink on it. (Lets not forget NY is a $25 bus ride away.)

Back to the city, there's more than one good bar in DC. Please. They could be cheaper, but there's some good ones out there.

And now you can own a gun. What more do yo want?

I don't know what you're into. (I'm sorry I just found your blog.) But I'm willing to bet its here. (Aside from things like high fashion and a movie industry, but if things like that are critical to you, then you shouldn't be here.)

DC has jobs. That's nice too. (Housing could be much, much better though.)

I have to get back to work. (Yes, typical for DC.) So let me close by admitting I love DC cause I grew up here. My family is here and so are many of my closest friends whom I've known for my whole life. There are a lot worse places to be born.

Now I challenge you to tell me what DC is missing, that it should have, and I'll tell you where to find it here.

Tippi said...

It takes a lot to lure me out of lurk-dom, but WOW, have you seen RR's latest post? I'll definitely refrain from commenting on his blog, since clearly any dissenting opinions will be met with an unnecessarily rude and bitchy retort.

But for the record, I'll state my opinion here: It seems RR wasn't expecting anyone to disagree with his witty (hah!) defense of DC, which he apparently couldn't come up with till several hours after the fact. He takes himself and his blog way too seriously, as is evidenced by his preference for self-important diatribes over friendly debate.

Cyndy said...

Hey girl, You gotta feel the love! One of the things I like about DC is the fact that it provides such excellent fodder for your extremely hilarious and entertaining blog! Even though I personally don't have the all-hip-all-the-time lifestyle that you do, I still really enjoy the way you put things. So I guess that makes me a major suck-up.

Although I will admit, as someone who secretly (I guess until now) wears, and will continue to wear...gasp... those ghastly yet super comfy crocs in the privacy of her own home, I do enjoy having a small sense of smarmy self-satisfaction when I see all the croc-wearing "douchebags" out in public. I can directly attribute this to your influence. But I must look like a real "tool" in my current footwear. It even requires a tool to put the damn thing on!

As a lifelong DC area resident I've always appreciated the vitality that the large number of temporary inhabitants and transplants bring to this otherwise sluggish southern swamp town.

I think you should write a post that is a side-by-side comparison of DC vs Moscow since you've spent a similar amount of time in both places. It would be very interesting to get your point of view on that!

N said...

All that's missing from RR's rebuttal to your comment is "bitch please."

Nate said...

Hell, I'm from here and I hate this place (but, to be fair, I hate most everything). However, every time I leave, I'm reminded that there are facets of this town that I love. Immensely.

I live to screw with people and the vast amount of jackasses in this town make it so easy. Plus, I'm a classic East Coast Bastard. I'm angry. I'm bitter. I'm impatient. It's hard for me to deal with places that don't operate on my schedule. Now, I know that there are other cities that are even more Bastardly than our fair DC (how's it going Philly?) but the combination of a pace that I understand, never ending jackasses and tourists to mock, and the ability to start a political "discussion" almost anywhere is a perfect storm for me.

We're not a fashionable town, but that doesn't bother me. I'll take The Capitol over Saks every day of the week. On average the bar scene sucks, but once you find one you like, do you really need another one? Adopt a couple bartenders, it'll make life easier. People seem to care too much about what you do and how much you make? That's gonna happen anywhere. Plus, never forget the culinary contribution of Mambo Sauce.

Sure, DC sucks, but it is what you make it. Just like anything else.

N said...

Nate, I just fell in love with you a little bit for your Philly shout out. I am from Philly and I love my misanthropic hometown.

evers said...

ive been here only a few months and definately use this site to reaffirm that im not just being the usual bitter asshole that i am but the general population in dc truly is super wack. im far from an ironic hipster but further away from the typical friday night dress shirt wearing stud, so with the latter being more of a standard than anywhere else ive lived i feel fucked. like when i go out to see these great rock bands that rock only to be accompanied by people that suck. even the artsy fartsy kids are a bit more fartsy here. and what people consider to be dive bars here! shiiiiiiiit. with that being said the minority groups here are actually doable (i can say that im black) even though their tight jeans and techni color sb's are approaching cliche at least its a visual break from the stodgy professionally acceptable outfits donned by everyone and their mother.really. so yep my issue lies with the people and the lack of inspiration they provide. im poor so dining offerings is so over my head. the hotel reminds me of philly, its live.

nate said...

So I'm working from home today and, as such, have had ample time to follow the little mini-feud going on. Plus, I'm bored. So, just a couple quick observations.

One) Homophobic? Really? What does it say when a guy reads that into a completely benign statement?

Two) I have to agree with Lem. As glad as I originally was to see douche come back into common usage, I am now equally done with it.

Three) How do I manage to remain employed when I spend my days wasting time like this?

Four) N, I f-ng love Philly (of course, I've never lived there). There's just something about a populace that only takes a break from booing in order to launch projectiles at Santa. And a full services court in the stadium to boot? That's my kinda town.

Anonymous said...

Wait a second, rape jokes are HILARIOUS. Shut up, naysayers.

I'm not sure why there is this pissing contest between New York and DC. I don't care which has the biggest penis, I really don't.

I wonder why I read your rude, homophobic, anti-feminist, pro-rape agenda. I thought I didn't like republicans. Who knew.


Skywalker said...

I'm not sure what to say...every city has its lows and its highs. Every city is unique (which I don't understand the DC vs. NY Debate...huh?) - what may work for you may not work for me (my best friend loves Atlanta while I love the DC metro area). Love or leave it - that's all I say

I'm not sure if you're being productive trying to counterpunch this guy with some mad "knowledge" but it sounds like you did present your arguments well.

I do hear from people that DC has gone down (I would love to see a REAL DC go-go show) but hey I can't complain growing up in a red state where thinking outside the box was VORBODEN. I like enough to say which more than I can say about Memphis and Nashville.

Marissa said...

Ah! Firstly, thanks to everyone for the suggestions and their views (and some for their compliments and/or references to Doestoevsky). I enjoy people who like DC not only because they introduce me to new things, some of which maybe, I'll actually *gasp!* enjoy, but also because I like having conversations (even e-conversations) with people whose views may not intersect fully with my own. Of course, whether someone likes a city or not is a rather trivial topic to debate, but I believe how a person handles a trivial debate reveals a lot about a person's openness to learning. In short, I enjoy exploring the differences in people's philosophical leanings/beliefs/opinions. It doesn't make me feel uncomfortable, as it seems it makes some others feel. Seriously, to get a tad existential, is there any other way for us to grow as a people?

Or is the better route to shut people down as soon as they anger/slightly (or awesomely) offend/disagree with you. I happen to think not. For a more epic example of this, I invite you to examine modern U.S. foreign policy. Talk about unwillingness to learn...

Speaking of...RR, who today sunk to the lowest of levels and illustrated once again why I hate DC by resorting to personal insult and wild, unfounded accusations (homophobic? anti-feminist? self-loathing?), rather than fruitful discussion. I'm tempted to chalk it up to projection on his part, but I don't know him well so I would never assume such things. Too bad that same courtesy isn't always reciprocal. I would possibly expect this from a teenager, even a college student, hell, maybe even someone my own age, but from someone well into a different decade of life? Hmmm...Well, all I can do is shrug, crack another offensive joke (I have a running joke with a friend about starting a musical duo called DJ Down and The Syndrome) and move on, I suppose, because if public denunciations of a relative stranger's character is the best argument RR has, then trying to reason with him is probably pointless, as is defending my character, or, more apropos, e-character. If a personal friend called me all those things, I'd be worried. But when an invisible blog personality does, well, uh, who gives a f*ck?

So why am I spending so much time, or, uh, 15 minutes, crafting all these responses? Because there's a bigger issue at hand here -- my blog. This is good material! :)

And holy hell! On a completely different note, I feel like Philly is some untapped city of retardulousness that I need to seize upon! I've only been there a couple of times, including one stint when I was 19. I breakdanced in some club and f*cking nailed the worm. YOU KNOW IT!

xo friends and foes,

luscious leo said...

What's better than being Chandra Levy? Or Lucretia? Or Larry Craig's favorite page?

..... Not getting raped!

Leo knows a good rape joke. RR wouldn't know a good rape joke if it hit him in the vagina!

Oooo.... too much? Not for this blog!

Boomhauer said...

I simultaneously love and hate D.C. I think most people are the same.

My main observation is that all the hating on D.C. would be tolerable if 90% of them didn't include some kind of comparison to New York City. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to Trig Palin where the apple is New York and D.C. is the Sped.

Marissa said...

Leo, Boomhauer--

Have you guys met? Your respective abilities to take it to the next level have me floored.